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NorthEdge moves southward

Rob Freer and Andrew Skinner will lead the Northern England-focused private equity firm’s new Birmingham office, which will target the East and West Midlands.

NorthEdge Capital, a Northern England-focused buyout firm, has opened an office in Birmingham, according to a statement from the firm.

From its new office NorthEdge will target companies across the East and West Midlands. Dealmakers Rob Freer and Andrew Skinner will lead the new office and will be responsible for originating and executing new deals.

The Birmingham office joins NorthEdge’s existing offices in Manchester and Leeds.

“Opening an office in the Midlands has always been a strategic objective for the firm,” NorthEdge managing partner Grant Berry said in the statement.

“We pride ourselves on being local investors within easy reach of the companies we work with and we are delighted to be welcoming both Rob and Andrew to the team. Their extensive networks and years of deal making experience will allow us to expand our reach and bring the NorthEdge investment approach closer to more high quality management teams across the Midlands. ”

Freer joins NorthEdge as a director. He has more than 25 years’ experience in corporate finance across private equity, acquisition finance, corporate finance and restructuring, and has held senior positions at Ernst & Young, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deloitte and Lloyds Bank, the firm said.

Skinner joins as an investment manager from turnaround firm Better Capital, where he spent almost three years. Prior to that he spent nine years at PwC.

In the statement, Freer said significant infrastructure spending and the relocation of large corporates such as HSBC to the Midlands has brought “a sense of renewed vibrancy” to the region.

“This, together with the establishment of the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority is adding fuel to economic growth and the creation of jobs in the region,” he said. “We want to play our part in capitalising on this and re-establishing the Midlands’ identity as a strong private equity community.”

NorthEdge invests in companies seeking equity investments to support MBOs, development capital and equity release. It typically invests between £5 million ($6.1 million; €5.6 million) and £45 million, focusing on established businesses, typically with a turnover greater than £10 million and profits of more than £1.5 million, the firm said.

In March NorthEdge closed its second fund on its £300 million hard-cap after just four months in market. The fund was fully allocated at launch and received “overwhelming support” from both existing and new institutional investors, as reported by Private Equity International.

Last month NorthEdge sold video game developer Sumo Digital to private investment firm Perwyn after less than a two-year hold. The sale, the firm’s second since it was founded in 2009, will generate a 4.4x return and an internal rate of return of 127 percent for investors in NorthEdge Capital Fund I, as reported by PEI.